Photo Credit – Pro-Wrestling Tees
I’ve been a wrestling fan for a long time, maybe even longer than some of you have been alive and I’ve never seen the fan bases be so hostile to one another as it is has become an Us vs Them culture. Now I’m not saying people didn’t chose sides during the 90s with the big three companies were running the show: WWF vs WCW vs ECW but maybe because of the rise of social media and the trolls hiding behind their keyboards that either chose to make dumb and disrespectfully untrue statements like when a fan questioned Eddie Guerrero’s legacy a few weeks ago; to someone taking shots at the Gargano’s when they announced their pregnancy, that just makes you a jerk by the way attacking a couple expecting their first child; and finally the constant fighting between AEW and WWE fans that is just toxic; things have gotten way worse instead of better.
For me and a lot of fans, Pro-Wrestling is an escape from the stresses of school or work or just life stresses in general. I look at Pro-Wrestling just like any other form of entertainment as a way to relax and unwind from a long day. With the world still battling a global pandemic, instead of people coming together the world seems further and further divided. So that escape of Pro-Wrestling is needed now more than ever as things continue to get worse. The problem with fandoms whether it is wrestling or comic fans for example, there is a group of fans that insist you have to choose a side, you can’t just like multiple products…well that is simple untrue.
For me, I have seen online arguments or even waiting in line to get into a movie, comic fans arguing about Marvel vs DC on which one is better. For me, I just enjoy them both, do I have a preference? Yes but I find things that I enjoy in both. The same is true for me with wrestling, I watch WWE, AEW, Impact, ROH and MLW on a consistent basis and there are things that I like with the products and there are things that I don’t but those are subjective opinions. No wrestling product is perfect and as I say in my bio, in my articles I try to give an unbiased take and that is the mission of Wrestling Republic to be that one wrestling website that isn’t biased or a toxic place for fans.
At the end of the day, I’m a Pro-Wrestling fan and access to content has never been more easily accessible to fans and instead of taking pleasure in it, there is this constant “this is garbage and so and so’s product is better and if you don’t think so you aren’t a real fan”. This is especially prevalent in this whole WWE vs AEW fanbase war. There are AEW fans that are clearly biased against WWE to the point no matter what they do they will find a way to complain about it and always tell you AEW is better. They’ll bury a WWE wrestler but if WWE releases him they’ll bash WWE and fantasy book his arrival in AEW. Needless to say that is really hypocritical. Then you have the WWE fans that look for any opportunity to bury AEW and its fans. Although no big name AEW talent has been released or hit free agency, I’m sure WWE fans would want some of them in WWE but whether they would admit it or not I don’t know.
I can’t believe I need to actually say this but WATCH WHATEVER WRESTLING YOU WANT TO WATCH AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT WRESTLING OTHER PEOPLE ENJOY! There is this gatekeeper mentality not only amongst wrestling fans but Dave Meltzer and Chris Jericho have done this as well where if someone disagrees with their opinion on the AEW product, they have been told they aren’t a REAL FAN. First off, no one can tell you, you aren’t a real fan just because you disagree with their opinion. That is a huge part of the problem, where people think their opinions are facts. At the end of day Dave Meltzer is just a fan and is not the definitive voice on what is good wrestling, when Dave rates a Omega match 7 stars, you don’t have to agree it is the greatest match ever, it is his opinion not a FACT. In Jericho’s case, he has always been this way even in WWE where he thinks all his stuff is gold for the most part and if fans disagree he tells them they are wrong but again it is their opinion and Jericho is not a fact checker on opinions. If I hear Dave say so and so had a great match in NJPW for example and I can watch it, I’ll check it out but I may or may not agree with him and that is okay.
On the other side is WWE fans that berate the AEW product as dumb and insult the fanbase and I got news for you, YOU AREN’T GATEKEEPERS EITHER! There are so many different kinds of pro-wrestling and as long as you enjoy it, watch it and stop being so negative towards other products. It is okay not to like a certain wrestling product or wrestler or segment or match and it is okay to voice your opinion about it but it is not okay to insult other fans for enjoying it if it is not your thing. For example, I don’t care for the deathmatch style, so I just don’t watch it but I know other people do. I was never a fan of the Fiend but I loved the Undertaker and he was the reason I became a fan. I don’t know why the Fiend never connected with me but he didn’t. Again I know a lot of people loved him and I would never insult those fans because I can accept it just wasn’t my thing.
One of the constant problems I see is if anyone says anything even remotely negative even if it is constructive criticism about AEW, they get attacked and insulted as if how dare you question its greatness? NEWSFLASH: IT IS OKAY TO HAVE A DIFFERENT OPINION THAN YOURS! Then you have the WWE fans, if anyone says anything negative about WWE, they attack and insult and proclaim they are a AEW Mark. NEWSFLASH: WWE ISN’T PERFECT AND IT IS OKAY TO HAVE A DIFFERENT OPINION!
The main point I’m trying to make is, it is okay to have an opinion and to voice that opinion and even debate that opinion but you should never insult other fans for having a differing opinion or to act like a gatekeeper and think you can dictate whether or not someone is a fan or not is ridiculous. I want to be clear, I’m not talking all WWE or AEW fans being this way but for those that are, just chillout and watch the show you want to watch and stop trying to dictate what everyone else is supposed to like or think because it is just toxic to be that way.
Wrestling is literally on every night of the week and if you consider yourself a wrestling fan pick your shows and watch them and stop worrying about what other fans think but at least hear them out because that is how you become a more knowledgeable fan by understanding everyone is entitled to their opinion and you never know you may learn something or the argument may be good enough to change your mind. The world has become a toxic place and at the end of the day we are a part of the wrestling fan community and instead of the US vs THEM culture let’s start respecting one another’s difference of opinion and be open to discussing wrestling in a civilized way.